Times are hard and roughly seven months into this pandemic-dominated year many tour operators are considering cutting their losses and closing their businesses. For some, this may sadly be the only option, but for the majority, there is a long list of possible alternatives before deciding to shut up shop and closing a business indefinitely. Some business owners may be intimidated by strategies to pivot their businesses into developing new products and offering new services. Others may be feeling overwhelmed by the promise of attractive loans which, at the end of the day, will leave them in a more precarious position than they’re in now. And of course, there’s a group who, after watching depressing news forecasts, feel like there is just no hope. Well, stop right there. Here is a list of steps that tour operators need to consider before calling it quits.
Put Your Business on Pause
Things may look rough now but you never know what the future holds. You don’t want to be looking back in a year or two and regret dropping everything because of coronavirus. If you are overwhelmed with bills and spending, consider putting your business on pause for a year. Think of it as a preservation technique rather than giving up. You can put your business on the shelf and find another means of income in the meantime, knowing that it’s not forever and the business and dreams you spent so much time and money on will be there waiting for you. Not only will you save yourself the feelings of guilt and failure, but it will also give you time and space to assess the condition of the tourism industry from a different perspective, without the pressure of your livelihood depending on its recovery.
Cut Expenses & Sell Assets
If you’re considering bowing out of the business, then you’re already prepared to let go of some of your expenses. Before making any decisions, and if you haven’t already, you need to sit down and analyse your expenses(opens in a new tab). Figure out where you are spending unnecessary amounts of money and cut those ties loose. Consider advertising campaigns, going online and leaving office spaces behind, and parting ways with any vehicles and their respective running costs. While you’re analysing your finances and in the swing of making difficult decisions, consider your assets. Do you own anything that would be worth selling or leasing out in order to save your company? This is the time to be ruthless and make changes to save your business.
Making Money From Blogs
If you’re restricted in carrying out tours in your area, use the free time to start a blog. Not only is it a fun way to share your passion and knowledge for your area, but it also could be a new stream of revenue(opens in a new tab). Build up your following with original content and ask partners in the industry to share your posts to get your name and content out there. Then, once you’ve carved out a space for yourself, opportunities are more likely to come your way, like partnerships with other businesses who spot your articles on social media. Make sure to clearly mention your products in articles so potential partners can quickly decide if your services are of interest to them. A successful blog can bring in sponsorships and help your products reach a wider audience, it can be a lucrative business(opens in a new tab)! If the SEO side of things worries you, contact us(opens in a new tab), we offer a blog editing service where we provide you with keywords and edit your content to make sure it’s as effective as possible.
Get Expert Advice
You may feel like you’re alone out there and that others are dealing with the crisis a lot better than you, but we have a solution for that. In times like these, no one expects you to be a crisis strategist, people train for years in order to deal with these situations, and those are the people you need to be talking to. Whether it’s online research, taking part in forums(opens in a new tab) with a tourism crisis expert, or embarking on a focused training program(opens in a new tab), an expert’s advice could be the turning point for you and your business.
If you’ve been thinking about moving your business online, improve your website’s speed, or you need to make your content more sales-focused to take your products to the next level, Tourism Tiger can help you by creating new, optimised content(opens in a new tab) or carrying out a website audit(opens in a new tab) and telling you where you’re going wrong.
It’s hard not to feel confused and cautious about financial aid packages in the current climate. Being wary of high-interest rates and the uncertainty of being able to pay back a loan is preventing many from taking advantage of grants and loans. But if you get the right information, this is another way to avoid closing your tour business. Knowing where to look can often be the biggest hurdle, reach out to the tour operator community through forums and Facebook groups(opens in a new tab) to find trustworthy sources. Check COVID pages on official websites like the World Travel & Tourism Council (opens in a new tab)or even a quick Google search can provide you with a long list of sources to investigate.
Find Investors or Consider Merging
Once you feel you have exhausted all of your options, consider finding investors. Spend time on increasing the value(opens in a new tab) of your company and making it more attractive to potential partners. If the idea of an investor makes you shiver and you would prefer a more give-and-take approach, get talking to other tour operators in your area to see if anyone else is struggling and would be interested in merging with you. By combining teams, you can expand your network of suppliers and provide more competitive pricing, share an office, staff, vehicles, and reduce all these expenses without negatively impacting your business and needs. Seeking out investors or merging with another company does not necessarily mean relinquishing control, you choose who to partner with and can draw clear lines in the contract to protect your interests and vision for the future.
This is not the first obstacle that the tourism industry has faced and it certainly won’t be the last. We don’t know how long this downturn will continue, so when considering solutions it’s best to think long term. The suggestions in this article may seem like big changes but they aren’t dealing with a quick fix. Many tourism-related companies have come close to closing, but waiting out the storm is often the key to their success in building stronger foundations for the future.
On the other hand, if you read this article and realise that these options aren’t viable for you right now, it’s ok to decide to close. You never know what the future holds and you may be able to get back into tourism sooner than you think. Make sure to keep a cool head and check over this list and other resources(opens in a new tab) before making any final decisions. Don’t give up before you feel confident you have exhausted all of the options.
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